Money Management Articles

Budgeting

Don't make these common IRA mistakes! - 9/15/2014
About 40 percent of U.S. households -- nearly 50 million -- own individual retirement accounts, which provide tax-advantaged options for saving for your retirement years. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers the following tips on how to avoid some common mistakes people make when managing IRAs.

Five disaster planning steps for small businesses - 9/15/2014
Could your business bounce back if a disaster occurred? A minimum of 25 percent of small to midsize businesses that close temporarily due to a natural or other disaster ultimately never open their doors again, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. It is possible to weather any type of business interruption, however, only if you're properly prepared.

Year-end tax planning for 2014 - 9/3/2014
Where has the time gone? We are approaching the final months of 2014, but, before you start thinking about holiday shopping, consider year-end tax planning and preparation. With proper tax planning, you can maximize your potential tax savings and minimize your tax liability.

Medical coverage while traveling overseas - 9/3/2014
While the summer vacation season has passed, thousands of people travel overseas each day for business, school or pleasure. However, few consider that their medical insurance coverage might be less than expected or, even worse, nonexistent.

Financing a return to college - 8/17/2014
You’ve advanced on the job, but you think that finishing or enhancing your college degree would help you go further.

Financial fitness advice for freshmen - 8/17/2014
As you get ready to go away to college for the first time, this is a good time to expand your knowledge of day-to-day money management, including smart budgeting and debt management steps.

9 ways to trim your back-to-school budget - 8/7/2014
The National Retail Federation predicts combined spending for back to school and college is expected to reach $74.9 billion, or $669.28 per family on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, an increase of 5 percent from last year.

Your midyear financial tune up - 6/30/2014
Did you start the beginning of the year by making smart resolutions to get your finances in order? Now that the year is half over, it's a good time to check in and see how you're doing.

Tips for starting a small business - 6/30/2014
The 23 million small businesses in this country are responsible for 54 percent of all U.S. sales, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Do you ever dream of launching your own company? If you do, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice to help you get off on the right foot.

Save money on your vacation - 6/1/2014
Are you planning to take a family vacation this summer? If so, it could become a pricey proposition.

Five ways to save on moving costs - 5/1/2014
About 36 million people, or 11.7 percent of Americans, moved between 2012 and 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you're in the process of moving, you're probably juggling a lot of tasks, including worrying about the potentially high costs.

Keeping a lid on wedding costs - 5/1/2014
Can you have a memorable wedding day without breaking the bank? Absolutely. Even though the average wedding costs nearly $30,000, according to TheKnot.com, many happy couples have joyous celebrations for far less money.

Five ways to set yourself up for a secure retirement - 4/16/2014
Approximately 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day until around 2030. If you're part of that group, or if you're planning ahead for a comfortable retirement, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers this advice for securing your financial future.

Most common tax mistakes, overlooked tax opportunities - 4/16/2014
Each year, according to the IRS, millions of taxpayers make mathematical errors on their individual tax returns and miss opportunities to take deductions.

Putting miscellaneous deductions to work - 3/31/2014
Now that you're just about ready to file your tax return, are you sure you claimed all the deductions that you're due? Most Americans know that they can deduct items such as charitable donations, mortgage interest and property taxes.

Minnesota's new gift tax sparks questions for taxpayers - 3/17/2014
As part of a campaign to educate taxpayers on confusing, challenging and emerging tax issues, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers filers important reminders and considerations related to Minnesota's new state gift tax.

Five tax tips for the unemployed - 3/17/2014
If you find yourself out of work, taxes may be the last thing you want to think about; but it's important to continue your tax and other financial planning, even when you're unemployed.

Do's and don'ts for paying your tax bill - 3/3/2014
About three-quarters of individual taxpayers received refunds last year, according to Internal Revenue Service statistics. However, many people find that they do owe taxes when April 15 comes around. If you fall into that group, the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers these recommendations on the best way to settle your bill.

MNCPA issues list of strange and unusual tax deductions - 2/17/2014
The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) recently conducted its annual CPA member survey about the most strange and unusual tax deductions proposed by clients. Responses included everything from pets and wedding rings to gifts not given.

What you should know about taxes and Social Security benefits - 2/3/2014
Will your tax bill this year include taxes on your Social Security benefits? About 55 million people receive monthly Social Security payments and some of them pay taxes on up to 85 percent of those benefits, depending on their financial situation.

Five steps to achieving your financial goals - 1/14/2014
What do you want to do now, or next year, or five or 10 years down the road? This is the time of year when people step back and consider where they stand and how close they are to achieving long-held goals. No matter what your objectives, there's no doubt that a sound financial plan will put you in a better position to achieve them, according to the Minnesota Society of CPAs.

2013 tax changes that may surprise taxpayers - 1/5/2014
With significant changes made to the federal and Minnesota tax rules in 2013, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) would like to remind taxpayers of the importance of tax planning and understanding how the new rules affect their respective tax situations.

College students home for the holidays? Discuss practical tax decisions - 1/5/2014
The winter holiday break provides a great opportunity for parents and college students to decide who claims whom on their 2013 federal and state tax returns. Surprisingly, it's not just limited to minor children.

Retirement road blocks for baby boomers - 12/15/2013
From now until 2030, about 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day, according to the Pew Research Center. This large generation, born between 1946 and 1964, has had a huge impact on American culture and society, and that remains the same as they head into retirement.

'Tis the season for charitable contributions - 12/1/2013
Along with an avalanche of catalogues and holiday greetings from family and friends, you may also find your mailbox inundated with donation requests from charitable organizations.

How can you cut next year's taxes? - 12/1/2013
Taxes may be the last thing you want to think about at the holidays, but the end of the year is a great time to take some smart steps that can help you minimize your future tax outlays. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) provides these ideas for keeping more money in your pocket.

Five questions to ask your CPA before the end of the year - 11/14/2013
Your to-do list is probably pretty full at this time of year. While the thought of adding one more task may feel overwhelming, it's one that can help put your mind at ease this New Year's Eve: Talk to your CPA.

Don't make these five online shopping mistakes - 11/14/2013
Online spending in the United States is expected to hit $370 billion by 2017, an increase from $262 billion in 2013, according to Forrester Research. Online shopping can be a great convenience, but CPAs advise that there are steps you should take to ensure a safe and satisfying experience.

Take control of holiday spending! - 10/31/2013
What are your holiday shopping plans this year? American retail holiday spending totaled about $580 billion in 2012, according to the National Retail Foundation, up 3 percent from the previous year. This is clearly a time of year when people dig deep into their pockets to pay for holiday gifts and celebrations, but that doesn't have to put a dent in your budget. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers advice on how to make smart spending plans.

Deciphering the health insurance requirements - 10/31/2013
You can't put it off any longer: Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all Americans to maintain a minimum level of health coverage or face a tax penalty. While some people are flocking to www.healthcare.gov to research and purchase their insurance, others are unsure how to proceed.

Pump up your credit score! - 10/16/2013
Are you looking for a surefire solution that will lower the interest you pay on your mortgage, car loans, credit card accounts and other debt? If so, there's one easy answer: Raise your credit score. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers the lowdown on why your credit score is important and how it can affect your financial life.

Five smart financial tips for young people - 10/3/2013
A whopping 70 percent of college students will graduate with student loan debt, which averages about $25,200, according to a recent Fidelity Investments survey.

Should you buy or lease your next car? - 10/2/2013
If you’re thinking of replacing your car, you may also be wondering if you should lease or buy the replacement vehicle. Leasing a vehicle used to be commonplace only for businesses because of the tax write-off. But now with deals like zero money down, low monthly payments or zero-percent interest, leasing has become a popular option for the general public.

Taking a trip over the fiscal cliff: Expiring tax cuts and deficit-cutting compromise measures leave American taxpayers with lots of uncertainty - 12/17/2012
The term “fiscal cliff” has become a popular phrase among politicians and pundits over the past several months, but what does it mean? If the United States goes over it, will you be affected? The so-called fiscal cliff actually refers to two separate sets of economic events that will take place starting Jan. 1, 2013. If politicians in Washington fail to come to an agreement, a popular set of tax cuts will expire. At the same time, a plan for severe government budget cuts will begin to be phased in. Over the long term, the combined effect would be significant.

Smart tips on charitable giving - 12/3/2012
This is the season of goodwill to all, a time when people take time to think of others. In addition to giving gifts and planning holiday get-togethers, that means many people are also dipping into their pockets to make donations to worthy charities. While that’s a good impulse, it’s important to do your charitable giving wisely. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) provides the following advice on ways to make your money the most productive.

Budgeting for the holidays: Smart spending for the season - 11/15/2012
The countdown to the holiday season has officially begun with decorations on store shelves and gift catalogs filling mailboxes. A recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association shows that individual consumers plan to spend $1,634 overall this holiday, up 11 percent from last year. Unfortunately, much of that spending will be done on credit cards. That may make consumers feel gloomy when they get their bills in January.


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